The plants in my window boxes worked hard (tolerating one of the hottest summers on record) from April until the end of September. They’re tired, leggy and ready for the yard waste container or the compost pile. The need to spruce up the front porch and redo my window boxes found George and me heading out to Fahrs Greenhouse, in St. Albans (Wildwood), last weekend. The sun was shining, the temperature downright perfect, and I had a $20 “Customer Appreciation Coupon” burning a hole in my purse. I put all the seats down in the 4Runner, picked up George and we headed due west.
I needed to redo 4 window boxes and I wanted to spruce up the front porch. I figured that I would get some mums, perhaps some pumpkins and gourds. Pulling into Fahr’s, I knew I made the right choice to come here- they had everything for sprucing up the front of my house.
Pat Bellrose has been working at Fahr’s Nursery ever since he married into the family. He’ll tell you that he never intended to work in the family business, but there he is, decades later, holding down the fort. Pat also is one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet when it comes to horticulture. I took his greenhouse class earlier in the year at Meramec and learned so much. If you want to listen to a real expert and fixture in the industry, take one of his classes or listen to him give a lecture. Better yet, go to Fahr’s, ask for his help in selecting plants and pester him with questions. He’ll love it- tell him I sent you!
I picked out some amazingly huge Kale and flowering Cabbage. They had a large selection of charming and healthy Pansies but, all I could see were the deer gobbling them up- I passed on them. Lots of nurseries do Mums but I doubt that anyone has more sizes and colors than Fahr’s. There are huge “Monster Mums,” regular size Mums and small Mums. The past few years, Pat has been growing Strawflowers in various colors for fall. They are deer-resistant, drought tolerant and last through light frosts. He claims to have the largest selection in the Midwest. After seeing the selection, I believe him!
You’ll also find straw bales, corn stalks and tons of gourds and pumpkins. He has those large, warty looking gourds that would be great for decorating the front porch and small gourds that would be a festive touch indoors. I grabbed some interesting ones- mentally I began decorating my front porch.
George and I loaded up the 4Runner with Flowering Cabbage, Kale, Mustard Greens, Mums and some Sweet Potato Vine. All greenhouse annuals are 50% off at Fahr’s, I figured it would be a great addition to my window boxes. I forgot to mention that all perennials are 50% off as well. If you’ve got empty spots in the garden, you can snag some great buys.
Upon arriving home, I was pumped up to redecorate the front of my house. I pulled almost everything in my window boxes out. I kept my kiwi-colored Sweet Potato Vine, giving it a little haircut to encourage it to be a little bushier. Everything else went into the yard waste dumpster. I grouped the plants together, arranging them on the sidewalk exactly the same way I would plant them in the window boxes. Once all the plants were in placed next to their neighbors, the fun began. Purple Mums look amazing planted next to the Kale I purchased with the purple centers. The dark leaves of the Mustard Greens added a decidedly fall feel to the window boxes. The centers of the flowering Cabbages were either white or purple- both are eye-catching! Everything was in, watered and happy. Now it’s time to place the gourds on the front porch.
I had some pitiful Caladiums that had given up the fight. Into the yard waste dumpster they went. I bought a darling metal vase at Home Goods. I admit it…I am a Home Goods junkie. Rarely do I leave that place empty handed. I placed 3 pumpkins inside the vase. One stacked on top of the other. Brilliant! Smaller gourds and pumpkins were stacked as well. I potted up a few Mums into a terra cotta planter and I was finished! I stood back, relishing the masterpiece I created in less than 4 hours. My “Ode to Fall” display costs less than a nice dinner out- and I have all of October and November to enjoy it.
The weekend is almost here. Whether you take a trip to St. Albans or just a drive down the road. Now is the perfect time to give the front of your house a horticultural facelift. Just think, you have 2 months to enjoy your handiwork…then it will be time to decorate for the holidays!